In certain circumstances, the Diocesan discernment process may not seem quite right for your situation. For example, you may already have been ordained in a different Christian denomination, or in another Province of the Anglican Communion, and are looking now to exercise your ministry in the Church of England. In these cases, there is still an important process of discernment to be undertaken, leading to a national assessment from what is known as the Candidates’ Panel.
Your case would need to be presented to the Candidates’ Panel if:
- you are a priest or minister from another Christian denomination, and wish to exercise your ministry in the Church of England
- you are a priest or deacon from another Anglican Province, and wish to transfer your ministry to the Church of England
- you have already been ordained and wish to resume formal ministry, having withdrawn from this for more than five years
- you are an ordinand who has formally withdrawn from training for more than three months, and would like now to resume your training
- you are an ordinand who has completed your training but not, for whatever reason, been ordained
- you are ordained, but feel called to change your focus of ministry (for example, from being an Assistant Priest to an Incumbent-focused Priest).
What do I do if one of the above applies to me?
In the first instance, you should speak to your Incumbent, whose support you will need. Your Incumbent (or your Archdeacon/Area Bishop, if you have approached them directly) will refer you to the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO), who will be in touch with you about the next steps. You will normally be asked to work with the Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands, who currently looks after Candidates’ Panel cases.
Please be aware that this work is rigorous and extensive, and will require a considerable commitment of time, prayer and energy. It will usually involve a series of meetings with the Assistant DDO, several pieces of written work, a substantial placement in a different parish, and an interview with one of the Bishop’s Examining Chaplains.
This process of discernment takes at least six months, and often longer. Please note that this same process applies even if you have already been ordained in a different denomination or Anglican Province, and even if you can provide letters of commendation from your home Bishop.
If, after this work together, the Assistant DDO recommends that the Bishop of Southwark should sponsor you for a Candidates’ Panel, you will be appropriately prepared for this. The Candidates’ Panel assessment normally consists of three one-to-one interviews. The Panel then sends a report to the Bishop of Southwark, advising him of its recommendation.
If you have queries, please contact the Director of Vocations and DDO, the Revd Canon Leanne Roberts (contact details below).